health care | KUOW News and Information

health care

Flickr photo/Jose Goulao

The End Of The Seattle/Sacramento Kings Saga?
Months of speculation about the NBA’s return to Seattle could end today. League owners are in Dallas to vote on Chris Hansen’s deal to buy the Sacramento Kings and move the team to Seattle. Meanwhile, a rival group of NBA-backed Sacramento investors is waiting in the wings to keep the team in town. Seattle Times reporter Bob Condotta joins us from Dallas.

Seattle International Film Festival Opens
It’s mid-May, which means summer is around the corner. But before you frolic outdoors, you’ll probably head into a movie theater for the annual Seattle International Film Festival. Organizers bill it as the biggest film festival in North America. Get a sneak preview with the minds behind the madness.

The Cost Of Health Care
Last week the government released costs for 100 common procedures at hospitals around the country.  The numbers varied wildly between geographic regions, but also between hospitals in the same city. University of Washington professor Aaron Katz explains what that means for consumers.

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Every four weeks, Anna Stephens comes to Seattle Children’s Hospital for chemotherapy. But she’s not a child. Stephens is 23 years old, and she’s one of thousands of young people with cancer who wind up being treated in facilities that typically deal with much younger or much older patients.

Courtesy/Seattle Children's Hospital

Seattle Children’s Hospital is opening a new cancer unit Sunday specifically designed for teens and young adults. 

When young cancer patient age 15 to 29 goes in for treatment, they end up either in a pediatric or adult facility. A designated place for this age group could play a crucial role in their survival, according to Dr. Becky Johnson.

How Doctors Are Handling 'Death With Dignity'

Apr 11, 2013

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine looks at how one Seattle medical institution has managed the state’s 2009 Death With Dignity law. The report shows how rarely Washington state residents have pursued a legal prescription to end their own life, and describes the early debate among physicians over whether to participate. We talk with study author Dr. Elizabeth Loggers of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Keeping A Lid On The Cost Of Health Care

Apr 9, 2013
Doctor
Flickr Photo/Alex Proimos (CC-BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/bt29wL

As the cost of health care continues to rise, what can patients do to help? Dr. John Santa is director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. We talk with him about Choosing Wisely, a campaign to encourage doctors and patients to ask questions to avoid unnecessary medical tests and procedures.

Greendays Gardening: Open Phones

Mar 26, 2013
Cherry trees
Flickr Photo/Camknows

With temperatures near 60 in the forecast, gardening season is in full swing. Did your plants survive last week's cold snap and snow? How do you keep your garden alive in the ever-changing weather? Our experts are here to answer your questions. Call us at 206.543.5869 or send an email to weekday@kuow.org.

Don't Eat That! You Could Be Allergic

Mar 25, 2013
Food allergies
Flickr Photo/Jay Wilson

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of food allergies in the US has more than doubled over the past decade. The New York Times recently estimated that there are now about 5.9 million children in the United States with food allergies, not to mention another 2.3 million adults. So what’s new in food allergy research? Ross Reynolds talks with Dr. Dave Naimi, board certified in pediatrics and allergies and immunology. Dr. Naimi treats patients in the Everett branch of the Northwest Asthma and Allergy Center.

More than 500 workers at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia are on strike.

HIV prevention
Flickr Photo/DFID - UK Department For International Development

Access to HIV and TB treatment has been improving worldwide. The rate of new infections is going down. But tuberculosis remains deadly, especially for the poverty stricken — TB killed 1.4 million people in 2011. Luwiza Makukula was diagnosed with HIV and TB after her husband died in 2001. Not only was she sick, she was completely isolated. Today, she works with NGOs focused on treatment, care, and support for HIV/TB patients, including Zambia's Community Initiative for TB, HIV/AIDS and Malaria (CITAM+). Luwiza Makukula joins us.

Doctor
Flickr Photo/Alex Proimos (CC-BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/bt29wL

A preliminary report from the Washington State Hospital Association shows that emergency room  visits by frequent users fell by 23 percent between June and October of last year.

The new state legislative session is well underway, and a few state senators are planning to reintroduce what’s known as the Reproductive Parity Act. The bill would require insurers who cover maternity care to also cover abortions.

Last year’s version of the bill died in the Senate due to Republican opposition. This year it's getting another chance, and it already has the support of Governor Jay Inslee, who mentioned it specifically in his inaugural address.

From The Front Lines Of Mexico's Drug War

Jan 17, 2013
El Narco
Courtesy Bloomsbury Press

Since 2006, more than 40,000 soldiers, police officers, traffickers and citizens have died in Mexico’s bloody drug war — from the mountains where pot and poppies are grown to the streets of Mexico City. Journalist Ioan Grillo tracks the rise of the cartels and their increasing influence north of the border in his book, "El Narco." He joins Steve Scher with a report from the front lines of the Mexican drug war.

  Medicaid expansion is one of the key decisions state lawmakers in Olympia face this session. Proponents say it would expand coverage to the uninsured, save the state money and boost the economy. Critics say it’s not clear how much the expansions will eventually cost state taxpayers. Ross Reynolds takes a closer look at Medicaid expansion with University of Washington public health-expert Aaron Katz.

Jay Inslee
Candidate's Facebook page

Democrat Jay Inslee made his first public appearance since he won the election. The Governor-Elect spoke Wednesday at a health care policy conference in SeaTac. He reiterated his commitment to change health care in Washington state through the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act is enacting big changes in the nation’s health care system. Here in Washington state, a health care exchange called HealthPlanFinder is scheduled to open in October. It’s supposed to guarantee everyone can get health insurance. Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler talks with Ross Reynolds about the new facets of health insurance reform arriving in 2013.

Gather At The Table: A Dialogue On Race

Jan 7, 2013
Thomas DeWolf and Sharon Leslie Morgan
Kristin Little Photography

When you look at a person, do you "see race?" Sharon Leslie Morgan and Tom DeWolf have been asking that question as they sat down at dinner tables around America. They found the lingering pain of slavery, and some paths to healing. They join us for a conversation about the journey toward racial equality.

One of the busiest places to be this time of year is the operating room. But it's not because of holiday accidents. Huge numbers of patients have surgery in December by choice.

Dr. Tim Smith is a sinus surgeon at Oregon Health and Science University. The week before Christmas this year, he performed 10 surgeries in three days.

“We joke with one another that people think it's busy at the mall this time of year, they ought to check out their outpatient surgery centers.”

As the human lifespan increases, families are putting more time and effort into caring for their aging parents and grandparents. By 2008, it was estimated that the average woman could expect to spend more years caring for an older family member than for her own children.

But providing in-home care doesn't work for everyone. For many families, finding the right nursing home or assisted-living arrangement is crucial. Ross Reynolds talks about the issues surrounding elderly care with Wendy Lustbader, a p​rofessor in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington.

It's official: Washington has reached a milestone in creating its own health exchange. On Monday the US Department of Health and Human Services announced Washington is among six states to make significant progress in developing an online market for health plans.

What Hospitals Don't Tell You

Dec 7, 2012
Stethoscope
Flickr Photo/Alex Proimos

Medical mistakes are now the third highest cause of death in the United States, writes Dr. Marty Makary. As a surgeon, Makary has witnessed the power of medicine firsthand. But he's also been shocked by the errors that can have tragic circumstances: wrong limbs amputated, children getting the wrong doses of medicine because of bad handwriting, surgical sponges left inside patients.

Makary advocates for a culture that holds hospitals and doctors accountable for these mistakes in order to bring about positive change in this system. He spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on November 15, 2012.

Next fall Washington’s health exchange is expected to be up and running.  The exchange is an online market for health plans, mandated by the federal Affordable Care Act.  Right now the state's Health Exchange Board is trying to figure out how to pay for itself. 

Images via TVW

Whoever is elected as governor this fall could change the course of Washington state's Medicaid program. When the US Supreme Court ruled on the Affordable Care Act in June, it determined that the law went too far when it required states to expand Medicaid. The ruling left it up to states to decide whether or not to open up the program to cover people without insurance.

Flickr/erlin 1

The United Kingdom already has a universal health care system. So you might expect that the health gap between rich and poor is smaller in England than it is the United States — but you’d be wrong! 

Melissa Martinson is a professor in the  School of Social Work at the University of Washington and she talks with Ross Reynolds about the differences in health between citizens of the United States and the United Kingdom. 

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